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May 14, 2012
Went to a local secondary school on ‘Europe Day’. (For those who live in places where the Schuman Declaration is not likely to be the object of commemoration, it might be useful to recall that Europe Day is the 9th of May). A friend had invited me to the inauguration of an exhibition entitled ‘Le sport et l’Europe’ (no translation needed, I presume).
The exhibition was made up by the works of four classes from four different schools who had worked on different sport-projects over the last months. A large variety of posters traced back the history of the Olympic Games, presented different national or regional sports, or highlighted social issues such as sport as a means to fight racism and support disabled persons. Among some 3D exhibits two nice scale models compared the stadiums of London 2012 and Berlin 1936.
The two most interesting quotes could be found on posters prepared by 12-year olds: according to one poster ‘The objective of Euro2012 is to bring together Europe’s best male football teams’. It appears that for children born in 2000 ‘football’ is not automatically men’s football. Had the kids spontaneously formulated it this way or had they been gently ‘nudged’ by their teacher? Another poster entitled ‘gender equality’ and created by a group of four pupils requested more TV coverage for women’s football and could not see why mixed football teams were possible until age 14 but not for adults.
The kids who proudly presented their works were colourful, touching, clumsy, at the same time rather relaxed and yet not very self-assured. They had more questions than answers. In sum, they were quite good representatives of the 21st century Europe they were speaking of.